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Penguins Hire Maple Leafs’ Draft Guru Clark to Lead Personnel

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Pittsburgh Penguins vice president of player personnel Wes Clark

Wes Clark worked with current Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas for five seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Despite wide speculation last summer that Clark would follow Dubas to the Penguins, that did not happen until today.

The Penguins named Clark, 41, the vice president of player personnel. He will lead the amateur and professional scouting divisions, which are currently directed by Nick Pryor and Andy Saucier, respectively. Clark will also lead the European scouting efforts and report directly to Dubas.

He’s had immediate success at the draft in recent seasons and built a significant reputation.

“Starting last fall with the addition of Trent Mann as a player development and scouting advisor and the elevation of Andy Saucier to lead our pro scouting department, we have sought to really bolster our player personnel system. Our personnel decisions in this short term will be critical as we seek to add the draft picks, prospects, and young players that will serve to add an infusion of young, hungry players to our core,” said Dubas. “By adding Wes … we have tried to put the Penguins in a strong position to go out and execute our personnel strategy in the short and long run.

“Having worked with Wes for many years, I have a deep trust in his ability to identify talent, lead staffs, advance our scouting process and methods, learn from mistakes to improve processes, and challenge my own thinking and planning on a near daily basis.”

Dubas’s mantra this offseason has been getting younger and hungrier players. Clark ran the NHL Draft for Toronto as the director of player personnel (2023-24) and amateur scouting (2021-23). He has also served as the assistant director of player personnel (2018-23) and as a player evaluation consultant (2014-16).

Wes Clark Draft Success

Toronto had first-round picks in each of the last two drafts but little depth after by which we can judge Clark. In 2023, it seems Toronto made an astute pick of Easton Cowan with the 28th overall pick. Cowan shined in the 2023-24 season as he led the London Knights to the Memorial Cup, and he is expected to challenge for an NHL roster spot this fall.

In fact, over the last several years, Toronto has drafted well with their top pick.

Toronto’s top choice in 2021, when Clark was the director of amateur scouting, was Matthew Knies (57th overall). Knies has already made it to the NHL, playing 83 games and making a roster impact. Last season, Knies played 80 games, scoring 10 goals and 30 points.

Toronto’s first pick in 2022 was 38th overall, and the organization selected Fraser Minton. He made his NHL debut less than two years after his draft day and played four NHL games last season.

Both picks reaching the NHL so quickly easily outpaces the Penguins drafts of the last seven years. The Penguins have not had a draft pick reach the NHL since their 2019 class (Sam Poulin, Valtteri Puustinen).

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DNow
DNow
4 days ago

Does he own a Delorean?

Clyde
Clyde
4 days ago

I hope he scouts some bigger prospects.

Stanley Kupp
Stanley Kupp
4 days ago

Where does this leave Pryor and Saucier?

Ujn Hunter
Ujn Hunter
3 days ago
Reply to  Stanley Kupp

Under Wes.

RJ
RJ
3 days ago

As I recall, they snagged Knies exactly ONE pick before Broz.